All the technology around us has an expiry date, from your smartphone and laptop to desktops, server infrastructure, televisions, and even your refrigerator. According to the Global E-Waste Monitor for 2020, e-waste increased by 21% between 2014 and 2019 and is set to double the 2014 figure by 2030. In research by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Australians are one of the world’s highest users of tech, generating 465,818 tons of e-waste in 2016-2017 with less than half of this being recycled. In this article, we’re taking a look at why this issue is important and how you can recycle your old tech.
Fastest-Growing Waste Category – And One of the Most Hazardous
E-waste is one of the fastest-growing categories of waste and includes all consumer electronics, office devices, household appliances, lighting devices, power tools, and electronic sports/leisure equipment.
The problem with e-waste is that most of these devices and their components contain substances that are hazardous to the environment, that can contaminate soil and water when they are dumped in a landfill. This includes lead, cadmium, and mercury, which can cause serious health conditions ranging from pulmonary disease and neurological problems to kidney disease, behavioural disorders, and death.
They also contain useful elements that can be recycled or reclaimed, including gold, steel, aluminium, brass, and zinc. Around one ton of old computer, parts contain more gold than is contained in 17 tons of gold ore!
Fortunately, around 95% of typical e-waste, including computers, monitors, printers, mobiles, and copiers, can be recycled.
Tech Recycling Tips
By committing to reducing e-waste and optimising e-waste recycling, your organisation is actively supporting solutions to a very real environmental crisis. Here are some great resources and advice for helping your organisation go green by recycling tech more effectively.
- Recycling drop-off points – When old devices, appliances, and electronics are no longer working, they can be delivered to recycling points through the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme. These recycling points are specifically for e-waste, and most of them are completely free to use.
- E-waste collection – You can also partner with private companies who will collect and recycle your e-waste for your business as needed. This is especially useful if you are considering a tech upgrade, are refitting your offices, or have a storeroom full of unused electronics that are no longer needed.
- Donations – Often, businesses have a lot of tech devices and appliances that work but aren’t needed because there is an excess, it’s old, or it doesn’t work with your current IT infrastructure. This tech can be fully wiped to ensure there is no compromise to your data security and donated to local causes where computers, TVs, and other electronics are needed but money is scarce.
- E-waste policies – Each person in your organisation must understand that it’s possible to recycle old tech, why it’s essential to do so, and how to go about getting this done at your business. A green e-waste policy where dedicated employees are assigned to this process as well as a general memo explaining how the process works will help get everyone on board.
At Otto, we are committed to always doing better, whether it’s improving our processes, looking into new innovative tech for our clients, or making a difference in the world. Chat to our managed IT solutions team today to find out more about how we can help your business succeed, grow, and go digital.